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Men's Health Line - Lung Cancer

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Lung Cancer
Introduction and Causes Symptoms and Effects
Prevention Treatment and Self-help

Introduction and Causes
Symptoms and Effects
Treatment and Self-help

What is lung cancer?

Lung cancer results from the abnormal growth of the cells of the lung. It is the commonest cancer found in males in Hong Kong.

What causes it?

Lung cancer is more common in men, particularly over the age of 40. The major risk factors are:

  • Cigarette smoking or inhaling other people's cigarette smoke (known as passive smoking)
  • Industrial and occupational exposure to certain chemicals or building materials, e.g. asbestos, nickel, uranium, chromium compounds, arsenic, polycyclic hydrocarbons, and chloromethyl ether
  • Exposure to radon gas (a naturally occurring gas that may accumulate from the soil into the foundations of buildings)

The risk of lung cancer is much higher among smokers who are concomitantly exposed to polluted air and vapours that contain the substances mentioned above.


Smoking affects your family and others as well. Secondhand smoke increases the risk of cancer in non-smokers. In fact, non-smokers who are exposed to it are 30% more likely to get lung cancer than non-smokers who aren't exposed to it.

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Do You Know...

Clinical research shows that:

  • Out of ten patients die of lung cancer, nine are smokers.
  • Smokers have three times higher risk of heart disease than non-smokers.
  • Spouses of smokers have three times higher risk of lung cancer due to second-hand smoking.
  • About twenty percent of cancer in children are related to smoking by their father.

What are the common symptoms?

In the early stages, lung cancer usually has no noticeable symptoms. As it grows, it can affect the adjacent lung tissue causing symptoms that include:

  • A persistent cough
  • Coughing up blood-stained phlegm
  • Repeated or slow-to-resolve chest infections
  • Hoarseness
  • Chest discomfort or pain when coughing or taking a deep breath
  • Loss of appetite and weight
  • Fatigue
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How can I prevent it?

The risk of developing lung cancer depends largely on the degree of your exposure to tobacco smoke. For example, your risk increases if you start smoking at a young age along with the number of cigarettes you smoke per day. So the best way for you to prevent lung cancer is to avoid smoking and inhaling other people's cigarette smoke.

Even if you have been smoking for many years, it is never too late to benefit from quitting.

What should I do if I have suspicious symptoms?

If you notice any symptoms as described above, you should consult a doctor immediately.

For suspected cases, the doctor may carry out some investigations. These include x-rays, blood tests, and procedures to obtain lung fluid or tissue samples for laboratory examination.


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What is the treatment?


Many different treatments may be used to control lung cancer, or to improve quality of life by reducing symptoms.

Options may include surgery, chemotherapy (the use of anti-cancer drugs), or radiotherapy (use of x-rays to target and kill cancer cells), alone or in combination. The doctor will recommend the optimal treatment depending on the type of lung cancer, its size and location, along with the extent to which it affect the patient's life, and the presence of any other medical conditions.

How can I help myself?

If you have a diagnosis of lung cancer, there are many things you can do to cope better and to improve your quality of life, including:

  • Understand your illness and its treatment.
  • Talk to someone (your partner, a friend or counselor) how you feel.
  • Learn how to cooperate with the people involved with your care, including the health professionals, your family and friends.
  • Take part in support groups to boost the ability to self-care and to obtain mutual support.
  • Eat properly and have a low fat healthy diet.
  • Exercise regularly under medical supervision.
  • Avoid stress, learn relaxation techniques and do things that you can enjoy.

If you have any suspicions, you should seek medical advice.

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Related Articles
  Smoke Free & Fresh
    Lung Cancer Prevention and Screening
    Recommendations on Prevention and Screening for Lung Cancer

Cancer Hotline
"Cancer Comrades" Cancer Hotline
Opening : 8 pm to 10 pm
Phone : 2893 2122 / 2987 8933

Support Group
Hong Kong Anti-cancer Society
Phone : 3921 3821

Organizations Offering Help
Integrated Smoking Cessation Hotline of the Department of Health: 1833 183
•Press 1:Department of Health Smoking Cessation Hotline
•Press 2:Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Smoking Cessation Hotline
•Press 3:Hospital Authority Quitline
•Press 4:Pok Oi Smoking Cessation Service using Traditional Chinese Medicine
•Press 5:Youth Quitline of the University of Hong Kong

Hospital Authority Quitline
Phone : 2300 7272

United Christian Nethersole Community Health Service -
Smoke Free Club

Phone : 3156 9012

Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Integrated Centre on Smoking Cessation
Phone: 2332 8977